Thursday, March 26, 2015

Utah, Colorado, and lots of photos!!!

Our first few days in Indian Creek, we chased the sun and avoided the snowy cliffs. It did not take long for the weather to warm up and we were nice and toasty as we climbed up the amazing cracks. Each morning, we enjoyed spending time with our neighbors, Taylor and Kaitlyn. Breakfast, coffee, and sleeping in were a part of our daily routine and I loved it:)
Site 13 crew! Zach, Sarah, Becca, Kaitlyn, Taylor, and Frenzie

Just hanging eating breakfast:)

Home Sweet Home!

Our friend Becca, who we had met at the Lily Pad in Tennessee, came to climb with us and happily we were able to all camp together in campsites 12 and 13! One of my favorite nights was spent playing Settlers of Catan. I have yet to win this game, but I felt that under the stars of Utah, I had a chance! I was no match for Kaityn, who beat us all. It was a fun night though and a fun group to play with.
Climbing is very unique at Indian Creek. We tried all sorts of different sizes of cracks. Ones only our fingers fit in all the way up to ones our legs fit into! My favorite large crack was Big Guy. Zach was able to put the rope up on lead and both Becca and I made it to top. In order to climb the giant crack, I had to use every part of my body! At the beginning of the crack, it is small enough to use just one hand, but eventually, it widens up enough to need both hands and my leg to make progress up the climb. It was tough, but one of my favorite climbs at the creek!
Sarah climbing

Becca on lead!

So ready to trad climb!!!

Big Guy!

Zach leading Big Guy!

Ready to lead!

The every awesome belayer:)

Zach leading "Fuel Injected Hard Body"

Becca liebacking like a boss!

Sarah stuck in a corner:)

Becca leading "Drain Pipe"
Becca is a very strong climber and I was really inspired climbing with her and trying hard! I even lead a few climbs at Indian Creek and really, really enjoyed them! It was a fun place to spend a few weeks. As spring breaks started for different schools, it turned into a very busy area. It was time for us to move on and go bouldering with Becca at the Big Bend boulders.
Becca's brush melted and looked kinda sad:(

Our siesta headquarters:)

A beautiful Big Bend campsite near the Colorado River.
Spring breakers had also taken residence in Moab, therefore leaving us looking for a campsite. Luckily, there was an overflow camping area that was not well marked. We happened to see someone setting up a tent and stopped to read the tiny, tiny sign which talked about overflow camping. It was a good spot and the next day we were able to move to the actual campground.
The bouldering was really fun and a short walk away from our campsite. The location allowed us to take a siesta in the middle of the day and go back to the campground to take naps, write books, or play guitar:) These were some of my favorite moments on the vanventure! Becca and I even braved the cold water of the Colorado River that ran through the back of our campsite. It was chilly, yet refreshing to dip in the snow melt running through the river. 
Zach working a crimpy problem near our campsite.

Becca checking out her project. Zach being...Zach:)

Go for it, Becca!

An arete dyno for Zach:)

Sarah trying to make the crux move!
It was finally time to say goodbye to our dear friend, Becca. We really enjoyed hiking, climbing, and taking siestas with you and can't wait to come visit you wherever you end up!!
Our next stop was Littleton, CO to visit a few of my favorite people and meet a new one! My sister, Samantha, and her husband, John, along with their kiddos (Kaylee, who is 5, Olivia, who is 1 1/2, and Henry Edwin, who is 2 months). Lucky for me, my sister, Megan, was also visiting and I got to hang out with all them!! It was so fun and such a great time to catch up with my sisters. We did some bridesmaid dress shopping along with some family hiking and just hanging out at home. 
Megan, Kaylee, Samantha, and Henry on the Castle Trail at Mount Falcon Park.

John, Zach, and Olivia hiking.

Kaylee was always on the lookout for a "pretty rock."

Kaylee crossing the bridge over a little stream.

Samantha and Henry rocking it across the bridge!!

Megan and little Olivia:)
Kaylee and I also got to have a special day together and went shopping for her flower girl dress. I let her pick it out with a few guidelines. She was such a great shopper and even picked out one that was on sale!! My aunt Nancy taught me about sale shopping and it was fun to pass the tradition on to my niece:) Kaylee also makes shopping fun just by being a kid and making up fun games to play. We raced to most of the stores we went to and danced in the dressing rooms (to test out the twirliness of the dresses:). It was such a fun day! 
One happy flower girl:)

We shopped til we dropped!
Meeting my new nephew, Henry, was so exciting. He is a beautiful baby and he fits into the family perfectly! It is so fun to have a baby boy in the family!! I loved snuggling with him. Can't wait to see him again soon!
Henry Edwin!

Uncle Zach getting to know his nephew:)

Sleeping baby Henry.

Everybody needs to talk to mommy.

Henry snuggles!
Olivia is a child after my own heart! Her adventurous spirit and fun personality shine through as she explores everything and laughs as much as possible. She even gives me hugs!!! I loved playing with her and helping her navigate around the playground or backyard. She is learning new words and also animal sounds. Her tiger growl is very impressive:) She also loves to dance and play with her brother and sister. It was so awesome to get to spend time with my little buddy!
Ready for some food!

Happy girl getting to swing outside:)

Walking around on different surfaces.

Making funny faces:) Love that cute belly!
Zach was so great with the kiddos and we had a blast being their aunt and uncle! We went for bike rides and had adventures at the park. It was so fun to visit and play with the kids. Samantha and John are such awesome parents as fun people to hang out with!
Back seat fun!

Wagon ride!

Kaylee got the camera and took photos of her dad, John:)

Fun with Uncle Zach!

Kaylee trying to convince Zach to do something crazy:)
We also got a quick visit in with my friends Meg and Lori as well as their families. Meg's son, Kingston, was in the NICU in Wichita when I worked their. We have stayed friends ever since and they now live in Colorado. Lori is a nurse I worked with at Wesley in Wichita and her family is travel nursing in Colorado right now. It was so fun catching up! Zach and I took Kaylee with us to meet all the boys, Kingston, Layton, Pierce, and Collison. It was a lot of boys to hang out with, but Kaylee was a trooper and managed to catch the boys in Duck, Duck, Goose! I was one proud aunt:) 
Lori, Kingston, Pierce, Kaylee and I hanging out:)
After lots of beautiful weather, we woke up Wednesday morning to snow that was sticking! We headed out into the whiteness and made it to Zach's aunt and uncle's house in Palmer Lake. Fran and Mike have been so supportive and are kindly collecting our mail for us while we are vanventuring. It was so nice to get to see them and spend the evening catching up. 
Today, March 26th, we are going through all of our mail, doing taxes, making phone calls, and doing regular life stuff... It really adds up after six months! Its is nice to get it all taken care of and then we can head on without worry:) Our next stop is Colorado Springs where we get to see our friends!! We have missed everyone so much and can't wait to catch up!!! Happy adventures!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vanventurers Venture to Vegas:)

It has been a little while since I had time to sit down and write! Our February ended in Las Vegas with my parents coming to hang out with us! We got to stay in the hotel with them in Henderson, NV and enjoy breakfast each morning made and eaten inside. It was pretty epic:) Our first night together, we enjoyed a pizza at a pizzaria. When my dad ordered two large pizzas, the waiter wasn't sure we would be able to eat that much. We proved him wrong when Zach and I polished off the last slices... I think we eat a lot.
My new favorite picture!
The next morning, we packed up and headed to Red Rock's Park to take my parents on a hike and rock climb.  We passed all the tourists picnicking and trotted upwards towards the climbing. It was a beautiful canyon to hike in, but the approach to the climbing was in the moderate-strenuous range according to the hiking guide. They were rock stars, making it up a pretty steep hike!
Dad enjoying the scenery.
Zach did the first climb and set up the rope for my parents. With a little pre-coaching, my mom set out first! She did amazing and climbed up to a sit down rest on a shelf. It proved to be easier to get into the rest spot then it was getting out, but she worked her way out and on to complete the climb! I was so impressed and so excited she liked it! My dad was next and he took off up the climb like a pro! He had the technique to making the moves down pat! It was so fun watching him climb:) He made it to the shelf, but decided not to sit down and posed for a picture instead. Mom wanted to climb again so we got another climb set up for her. She was making some impressive moves. Zach and I agreed we would have to find something a little more challenging for them next time;)

After a PB&J lunch by the climbing, we set about heading back to the car. We were all pretty beat when we got back to the car, but still managed to find energy to go out to eat. It was a fun night at an Italian restaurant near our hotel. In the morning, we did a quick tour of the strip. Mom and I were excited to see the Bellagio since our previous Vegas experience had only been through Ocean's Eleven. We got to stay for the fountain show and pretend to walk away with millions of dollars:) A quick walk through Cesar's Palace and a few dollars spent on slots, we headed back to the parking garage. My parents had to head out to the airport. It was sad to see them go, but we really enjoyed having them there for a little while! I really enjoy being on the road, but I get homesick sometimes and seeing them made me feel a lot better!
Inside the Bellagio

Ocean's Eleven pose;)

The fountains!

Zach and I decided to try and find lunch off the strip because there would be less people and hopefully cost a little less. We had done our laundry a few days before in an area with a lot of Asian restaurants and thought that sounded pretty good. Unfortunately, that area of town was celebrating Chinese New Year and every parking spot was taken! So much for losing the crowd:) We kept going a little further and saw a tiny Chinese place with parking in front of it! It was amazing and we were the only customers! Zach tried a new spicy dish recommended by our waitress and I got my normal sweet and sour chicken. It was the best sweet and sour chicken I have ever had! I still crave it! Zach really liked his too and we celebrated the New Year a little off the beaten path.
We worked on addressing wedding invitations for the rest of the afternoon in the van. I decided it was best not to try and take them into a restaurant where I would inevitably spill something on them! It was then time to head back to our campsite. On our way back, it started raining. We looked at the weather and realized we were not going to have good climbing weather for the next few days, but it didn't seem too bad. Then a weather alert came through saying higher elevations in Nevada should expect snow overnight. We figured we were low enough and headed to our campsite.

The next morning, we found out we were at a higher elevation then we thought! We were in side a snowball:) It was beautiful and not even very cold. The snow packed so well, we built the biggest snowman in no time flat! That would have taken me hours as a kid. We then dug our van out of the snow and moved back to sunny California!
Based on the weather forecasts, we picked a little climbing area near Barstow, CA. It had sport routes and free camping! The camp hosts who live at the campground were very nice and we enjoyed chatting with them when they were out and about. They were trying to cover up some graffiti that had been done on some rocks higher up. They armed Zach and I with the proper tools and we climbed up and covered some up on the rocks above our campsite. I'm glad we got to help out:) We also met some of the other campers including our awesome neighbors, Jackson and Sanja. They were from Australia and were touring the country just like us. It was fun swapping stories and road tripping tips. Safe travels to you two!!
The climbing was really fun! Zach and I both pushed ourselves on climbs and were able to both send our projects by the time we left! Zach climbed "Lost in the Middle" 5.12b and I took on "She Packed Her Bags for Outer Space" 5.11b. We were both able to climb to the top with no falls! It was a really fun place for us to spend the week. It was a productive stop as well and we even got our wedding invitations sent out!!
The weather finally started to improve in other areas of the country and we set out towards Utah to climb near Moab. We took our time and stopped in St. George. Unfortunately, it had rained and all the rock we wanted to climb was wet. We moved on to Moab and finally arrived in Indian Creek.
As drove through the camping, we ran into our friends Taylor and Kaitlyn. We have seen them in Arizona, California, and now here! They are living on the road and climbing as well. It was so exciting to see them and they showed us the open campsite next to them! We had a great time climbing with them the first day and can't wait to hang out more. The vanventure is so much fun:)